Kids Home > Signs of Colic in Babies

Healthcare providers often go by the "rule of three" when talking about symptoms and signs of colic in babies. This definition is known as the Wessel criteria and defines colic as:
  • Crying that lasts more than three hours per day
  • Occurs more than three times a week
  • Lasts for more than three weeks.
It also requires that the infant be well fed and otherwise healthy. A couple of other differences between a "normal" crying episode and colic include:
  • The cry has a distinct beginning and end
  • The cry is louder, higher-pitched, and more intense
  • The infant can't be soothed
  • The infant has increased muscle tone.
Colic signs in babies often stop as unexpectedly as they began. In fact, 90 percent of infants with colic have improved symptoms by four months of age.
(Click Colic Symptoms to learn more, including additional differences between a normal baby cry and the crying of a colicky baby.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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